This Environmental Hazard is Associated With a Third of Strokes

A new study found that air pollution—both outdoors and in our homes—is associated with about a third of strokes across the world.

The researchers found that more than 74 percent of the risk factors for stroke are things that people can control directly, like what we eat or whether we smoke. Another 30 percent were related to indoor and outdoor air pollution. To get these numbers, they analyzed data from the Global Burden of Disease study, which includes information from 120 countries.

This is the first study linking air pollution to stroke risk, and the researchers found that the risk is three times higher in developing countries. They also found that other risk factors varied by location. In the U.S. and UK, the top risk factors for stroke included a high BMI and smoking. In India, indoor air pollution and a high salt diet were major risk factors. Outdoor air pollution was a top factor in China. In all three regions, high blood pressure and a diet low in fruits and vegetables were among the top risk factors.

This isn’t the first study showing air pollution’s impacts on heart health. A study this past May linked air pollution to high blood pressure. No matter where you live, limiting your exposure to both indoor and outdoor air pollution is good for your health.

Avoiding Air Pollution for Your Health

When it comes to outdoor air pollution, you really only have limited control. The best thing to do is keep track of smog alerts where you live and limit your time outdoors on heavy smog days. Here in the U.S., there’s a tool called Air Now, where you can check daily smog levels by zip code. People in the U.S. and abroad can also search the Air Quality Index for current information on air pollution.

Indoor air pollution is a little bit easier to control. It might surprise you to learn that indoor air pollution can actually be worse for your health than outdoor air pollution. Household cleaners, candles and incense, and even furniture can all make our home’s air less safe to breathe. Care2 has some great resources to help you tackle indoor air pollution:

It’s almost impossible to avoid air pollution altogether, but avoiding smoggy days and minimizing air pollution inside your home are two ways that you can help protect your heart and your general health.

Image via Thinkstock.

75 comments

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 years ago

thanks

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

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K S.
K S2 years ago

Good information. Thanks

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Jane R.
Jane R2 years ago

We have to breathe air or die. Not really anything we can do about the air outside but we can do something about the air in our homes. Get an air purifier for one thing, and don't burn candles no matter how nice they make the house smell. To make the house smell nice just put a few drops of vanilla extract or lemon extract in a pot of water an simmer a few minutes. Reheat as needed.

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Carol S.
Carol AWAY S2 years ago

Thanks, we can always make improvements to reduce our risks!

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Glennis Whitney
Glennis W2 years ago

Interesting article Thank you for caring and sharing.

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Helga Ganguly
Helga Ganguly2 years ago

I knew living next to a cattle ranch was a good idea. I've had a chronic cough since we moved here in November. The house isn't new.So outgassing shouldn't be a reason. But we open the windows as often as possible. I'm not next to a freeway but close enough that the noise doubles when the window is open. We hope someday, to buy a house and be able to make the payments. But I wouldn't live here.I would move closer to civilization but a large lot that has lots of trees. Can I have a quiet wooded lot away from people? Please? I want green as my view and since my offspring ,smart as they are, don't think ahead, I want a house big enough to put them all up when they can't stand where they live anymore due to noise,pollution,and drought.
Yup folks. I want to buy and Arc sans the death to everyone else part. Just insurance.

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Helga Ganguly
Helga Ganguly2 years ago

And Jasmine again. You are polluting our environment.

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Helga Ganguly
Helga Ganguly2 years ago

Felicia -this is the 3rd place I've found you. Scram.

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